Materiales de Construcción, Vol 61, No 304 (2011)

Pathologies and analytical study of mosaic materials from Carmona and Italica

T. Palomar
Instituto de Historia, Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales, CSIC, Madrid, Spain

M. García-Heras
Instituto de Historia, Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales, CSIC, Madrid, Spain

C. Saiz-Jiménez
Instituto de Recursos Naturales y Agrobiología, CSIC, Sevilla, Spain

C. Márquez
Restauradora, Sevilla, Spain

M. A. Villegas
Instituto de Historia, Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales, CSIC, Madrid, Spain


This work reports on the characterization of Roman mosaic samples from Carmona and Italica (Spain). A physico-chemical study of both glass tesserae and mortar fragments to determine their composition, to evaluate their state of conservation and to study their production technology was carried out. Samples were characterized by means of a binocular microscope, SEM-EDS, visible spectrophotometry, XRD and petrographic analysis. The tesserae were made from soda lime silicate glass, even though one of them showed high contents of lead and copper oxides. The samples from Carmona showed deterioration pathologies associated to the humidity affecting the mosaic during burial, while those from Italica presented traces of biodeterioration. The data also indicated that the glass used in the tesserae had a lower technical quality than that used in tableware pieces of similar chronology.


Tesserae; Glass; Mortar; Roman; Deterioration

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